The End of Summer

September 8, 2010

The end of summer is always a sad time, gone are the days of falling asleep out back under the stars and beach days and BBQ’s, but I’m ready for everything Fall brings with it.  The times spent with family over the holidays, sweaters and layered fashions, and the beautiful colors.  Do you remember the pots I put out on my front porch back in June?  here is a reminder…

well look at them now…

I love the colors of the coleus and I’m actually excited to add pumpkins to this ( yeah, it’s a bit early ).  I planned ahead, got my plants early and put them out as soon as I could.  Now is the time to pull it together for fall.  Here’s the “to do” list:

Your lawn

Fertilize before the first frost to provide nutrients for the winter months. Aerate for good root development. Keep mowing until it stops growing and can be kept 2 to 2½ inches tall.

Overseed your lawn when necessary. If there are bare spots larger than a softball, seed those areas from early September through mid-October.

Kill the weeds now to minimize weed growth in the spring. October is a great time to get good weed control going.

Once your mowing season is over, drain the gas from the mower, clean the blades and put it in protected storage.

Your yard

Early fall is a great time to plant. The soil is still warm enough for roots to grow, but the weather is beginning to cool, so you won’t have to water as much.

This is also a wonderful time for plant bargains and now is the time to plant spring flower bulbs and to lift bulbs that cannot overwinter such as dahlias.

Trim trees (hiring a professional is a good idea) if branches hang too close to the house or electrical wires.

Rake away all debris and edible vegetation away from the foundation.

Make sure your snowblower is cleaned, gassed up and ready to go. I seem to remember some years when blizzards hit in late October . And that, my friends, is not that far in the future.

Finally, it’s a good idea to track down, dust off and inspect rakes and snow shovels. Replace them if they are worn.

Your house

Make sure gutters are secure and clean. Do you recall last January and those wonderful home additions called ice dams? While cleaning gutters as much as possible before snow hits may not prevent that phenomenon, it doesn’t hurt to keep this part of your home maintained.

Speaking of ice dams . . . make sure there is proper insulation in your attic to prevent snow melting on the roof, pouring into the gutter and refreezing (the process that creates the dams). If you have an overhanging porch, call a roofer and electrician about adding warming cables to the lip of the roof.

It’s easier to prevent dams than get rid of them once they are 4 inches thick, dragging down the gutter and leaking inside to destroy walls and ceilings.

Other chores

Inspect your home’s foundation and seal entry points to keep small animals from seeking the warmth of the indoors. Seal any cracks.

Inside your home, install and/or test smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. It’s a good idea to place a carbon monoxide detector near your furnace.

Have your furnace inspected and cleaned before cold weather hits. It will not only save you from a chilly night with a broken furnace, it will be less expensive to have it done before the height of furnace season.

Locate your water main in the event you need to shut it off in an emergency.

Insulate exposed plumbing pipes.

Drain air-conditioning pipes. If your AC has a water shut-off valve, turn it off.

Use weather-stripping around doors and windows to prevent cold air from entering. Consider getting new energy-efficient windows to take advantage of a $1,500 federal tax credit. It expires at the end of this year.

Switch (probably in late September) screens to storm windows.


Make sure the cap on the top of your chimney is secure. You really don’t want critters climbing down and making your house their home.

If the chimney hasn’t been cleaned for a while, call a chimney sweep to remove soot and creosote.

Buy firewood.

Inspect the damper to make sure it opens and closes properly.

Because we all know that no one wants to even think of doing any of this stuff right now while it still feels like summer (even though most schools are back in session), do yourself a favor: Clip or print out this story right now and put it somewhere safe. Very soon, it will seem pertinent, if not urgent.


4 Responses to “The End of Summer”

  1. Claudia Says:

    Those planters are spectacular!! I’m stealing your “recipe” next year. xxx, C

  2. bill barr Says:

    I encourage you to!

  3. Joe Says:

    The planters are great. Is that potatoe vine? Any chance of a list being posted of the varieties? Your blog is awesome! – Thank you so much for sharing such great garden knowledge is such a user friendly format!

    • bill barr Says:

      Thx for the comment. Yes Potato Vine, great color huh? And I love the way it trails. I shop early for the best coleus and keep them inside through the last frost. Sorry I can’t tell you the types, all I can say is I like mixing the varied colors, heights and leaf types.

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